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The role of a butler in your home

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a butler in your home?

Do you feel as if your household could gain from having a personal butler but you are not sure what the role entails?

Many families worldwide are yielding the benefits of having that all-important helping hand organise and arrange the smooth running of their households.

A butler is like a button that holds the family together. His many duties and responsibilities can take the weight off a busy family particularly when that family has many tasks at hand and perhaps when both adults work long hours. A butler can also be for who can afford it and who would like to spend that extra time on leisure and hobbies, entrusting homely affairs to an individual they feel that they can count on.

Some homes require only part-time help to ease the burden of the owners’ busy schedules, but most families quickly realise the value of having that help constantly. Like all positions, the family’s service needs and property size will dictate the duties and level of formality for the butler.

The butler is generally expected to handle all the unpredictable needs of the household, while housekeepers manage the predictable ones such as cleaning rooms. He pays the household bills, organises the stock for the kitchen and home, books medical appointments and helps arrange social family events. He can even be expected to stay abreast of the latest software and security systems.

homes that can be quite complex, with wine cellars, smart home technologies and security screens need constant maintenance. He checks that the kitchens and laundries are all being run well. He should have rather good knowledge on wines and spirits but also how to pack suitcases, fill wardrobes and manages clothing inventories.

Instead of polishing silver or greeting guests as commonly known to be the general tasks, the butler may oversee installation of a new heating system. Thus, the butler needs strong communication, organisational and management skills, and an ability to multi-task.

These days, however, the role of a butler is always a personal affair. A butler nowadays is usually compared to a Swiss army knife and many today favour a broader title such as household manager or estate manager, that fits into a field called private service. Some attend one of a handful of schools or institutes that offer training, or they may learn on the job.  More and more females are gaining interest in the field and most don’t specify the job as being a male role anymore; particularly after Buckingham Palace opened their search for new butlers in 2004 including enrollments of female staff.

Typical butler duties according to The International Guild of Professional Butlers website, 2001 

  • Cleaning and maintenance
  • Care of clothing
  • Care of fine china, silver, crystal
  • Care and inventory of artwork and antiques
  • Maintenance of automobiles
  • Security of their employer and residence
  • Co-ordination and scheduling of service contractors.

The salary is usually based on a number of factors such as the job location, the duties, responsibilities and hours included in the job description, the amount of experience and formal training of the candidate, but the usual earnings are somewhere between £40.000 and £100.000 annually. The butler role can be live-in or live-out and room and board can be considered part of the salary package. The average hours of a butler are 60 per week with one day off. Four weeks annual leave is considered to be the general holiday period.

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